09/16/2009 4:04PM

HandiGambling Woodbine

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Today's HandiGambling 151 exercise is the eighth race from Woodbine, a $20,000 claimer for three-year-olds and upward going five furlongs over the polytrack. 

Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."   Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference.  Past performances are available on the previous blog entry.

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place.  The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are.  I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

With post time scheduled for 10:13 ET, I'm going to have to go at it without the benefit of late changes. 

I like #6 ZOUNDS, a gelding that desperately looks in need of today's class drop.  Two back, I thought he ran pretty well for $50K as he tracked the pace while four wide, made a possibly premature bid on the turn, and still trudged on to finish second behind the even-money favorite Star Prospector, a winner of 9 of 15 starts.  That race was flattered somewhat when Star Prospector returned to finish second with a 96 Beyer in a 62.5K optional claimer with a 'n2x' condition. 
Last time out, Zounds switched to turf for a $37,500 tag, chased the pace for a half-mile, and tired in the stretch.  The winner of that race, My Imperial Dancer, returned to finish third in the Ontario-bred Halton Stakes, a race he won in 2007, and was nosed out of the following year.  Zounds finished three lengths ahead of Red Raffles in that July 31 race, and that one came back to win for $32,000 on the polytrack.  Trainer Scott Fairlie has 17 claiming race victories to his name at Woodbine for the year, and two of those winners were ridden by apprentice Michelle Rainford (Officer Rocket dropping from $47,500 to $32,000, and Put Upon dropping from $32,000 to $20,000).
You could make the argument that Zounds is best at slightly-longer distances, but the bullet work on August 17 (46 4/5) and the quick one one on September 7 (47 4/5, second of 46 at the distance) may have sharpened his speed.

SEASON STORM (#1) has only run once since August 17, 2008, was a reported vet scratch since his last start on July 16, 2009 (August 1), and there is more than a month gap between the last two workouts. 

MOON RUCKUS (#2) has only won restricted races (maiden claimers, 10K N2L, 10K N3L), and was a reported vet scratch on September 5.

BRIGHT PICK (#3) once ran against J Be K in the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth last year, but is 0-6 since shipping back to Woodbine.  He showed the way for $32,000 last time out before being nosed on the line by dropdown Officer Rocket, and there may be more early types to hound him in this spot.  He's in form, but you have to demand your price as the last time he gained ground from the stretch call to the wire was September 13, 2007.

FAST MILLION (#4) has only run once since August 27, 2008, and was a reported vet scratch since the most recent start on April 18, 2009 (August 3).  He continues to plunge in class, and I'm a bit concerned about whether he's at his best right now.

JAKE RATTLE N ROLL (#5) has really picked up his game since Lasix was added to the equation three starts back, but those races were contested on Colonial turf and the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs.  He's pretty quick out of the gate, but tired badly at Presque Isle, and his ability is questionable on these synthetic surfaces.

PEACE ROCK (#7) was the beaten favorite when finishing behind Bright Pick on August 19, but he never got near the inside that day, and can be forgiven for that defeat.  He went gate to wire two back, and looks part of a contentious pace picture.

TUGASKE (#8) may be the speed of the speed, but stamina has been a major issue in his last three starts.  He is fresh, and has never raced this cheaply, but an early duel would likely hurt his chances.

ONEMOREBOURBON (#9) won his maiden at 5 1/2 furlongs back in 2005, but he seems like a different horse if he doesn't make the lead.  He's solid when he gets to an early advantage, but seems one-paced when he's in chase gear.

SERGEANT MATT (#10) faltered after pressing the pace in his last two tries, and m face even faster fractions in this spot. 

WHATWILLBEWILLBE (#11) takes a big drop out of allowance and 'n2x' optional claimers.  He has sneaky early speed, and may be right there when the field turns for home.  He wouldn't be the worst longshot stab in the world.

I'll keep it simply and play:

$100 Win Zounds (#6) - hoping for 2-1 or greater.

Best of luck to all.